Ground Zero’s Massage Therapy

To promote its new handheld massager, Waterpik Technologies is breaking TV work next week that illustrates the possible effects of a stressful day.

Created by Ground Zero, Marina del Rey, Calif., the “Stress Ball” spot touts the AccuReach Massager. It shows a man named Gilson who is called into his boss’ office. Behind closed doors, the boss bellows, “You want to make manager?! You’re lucky if you make my coffee!” The door opens and Gilson, played by a contortionist, is literally in knots on the floor. A proper male voice says, “Oh look, it seems a little stress has got the best of the working man.”

Gilson remains in knots until he gets home, where he hops on the couch, grabs the AccuReach Massager and works out the kinks. He returns to normal as the voiceover says, “Ah, a massage. That’s better.”

The ad, which was cut into 60-, 30- and 15-second executions, is a “very straightforward problem/solution spot,” said Stanzi Prell, director of communications for Waterpik, based in Fort Collins, Colo. “We’re trying to get some sympathy from the viewer and offer up a solution to relieve the stress.”

By using a “visual manifest of the problem,” Ground Zero created “not only the physical sense of stress but an emotional one that everyone could identify with,” said agency creative partner Court Crandall. In focus groups, Crandall said, “sadly, everyone in some way could relate to being belittled by a boss and coming home from work feeling very stressed out.”

Campaign spending was undisclosed. Waterpik spent about $6 million on ads in 2001 and $2 million through July of this year, per CMR.

The ad, which targets consumers age 25-54, breaks Nov. 4 on national cable networks. In-flight ads will also run on select airlines.

Waterpik entered the personal stress-relief category a year ago with a line of foot spas. The Accu Reach Massager, which comes in two models and retails for $40-60, began shipping last month, said Prell. “This is really important to us. We expect this to be a huge gift item this year,” she said.

This is Ground Zero’s second ad effort this year for the 40-year-old manufacturer of personal health and wellness products. A spot for the Cascadia showerhead broke in May, featuring people singing in the shower to the 1980s tune “Don’t You Want Me.” The client has worked with Ground Zero since June 2001.